Telangana keen to experiment with blockchain tech for remote voting

Blockchain tech would provide a secure system whereby voters can cast their votes remotely, without the risk of privacy breaches.

Hyderabad: The state government has expressed interest in experimenting with blockchain technology for enabling remote voting in the country. Blockchain solutions could be experimented with on a small scale for learning purposes and scaled up, Principal Secretary of Information Technology Jayesh Ranjan said on Monday.

Ranjan was speaking at a webinar, ‘Exploring Blockchain for Remote Voting’, organised by the Election Commission of India and Tamil Nadu E-Governance Agency (TNEGA). The Election Commission of India (ECI), Union ministry of electronics and IT (MeITy), MyGov and industry bodies working in the blockchain space had joined the webinar.

They deliberated over the possible deployment of blockchain — a decentralised digital ledger-based technology — for remote voting. It would, in theory,

Ranjan said state governments could pool their efforts, with a go-ahead from the ECI, to perfect the technology required for this endeavour, including facial recognition software and encryption tools.

The senior bureaucrat suggested that the state government could use its “authority, position and influence” to convince small bodies — societies, neighbourhoods, sports associations, cultural associations and so on — to use blockchain-based technologies to conduct their internal elections. “Once we have enough use cases, we can convince the government to try it out and gradually scale it up to the national level,” he said.

He admitted that, as of now, there was no demand or deficiency addressed by the use of remote voting and blockchain. “There should be a need for this particular technology. One needs to demonstrate that particular deficiencies can be addressed using blockchain and remote voting,” he said. He added that the “tech is not difficult,” citing example of the Telangana state government’s T-Chits, which uses blockchain technology for managing chit funds in the state.

TNEGA CEO and Commissioner of e-Governance Santosh K Misra agreed that remote voting needs to be started in a small way, and built up gradually. He noted that there was a need to build trust among the general populace in prospective remote voting systems by focusing on user inclusion.

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